Five men will run for Libertarian Party national chair this weekend in St. Louis. I can be happy with four of them. I only hope the winner is not Wayne Allyn Root, a pro-war narcissist.
Of the remaining four, I am most impressed with John Jay Myers. Antiwar/anti-empire must be the LP's flagship issue. War touches all others. Apart from its murderous destruction, war destroys civil liberties at home, and increases taxes and inflation to the point of national bankruptcy.
Root sometimes buries brief, watered-down passages critical of foreign intervention in some of his writings, but he won't oppose war loudly and incessantly! It would hurt his budding career as a right-wing media pundit. Besides, Root still supports war now and again, if not this or that particular policy (at least not after it's proven to be a failure).
Phillies, Hinkle, and Hancock are all sincerely antiwar, but they have other liabilities as candidates. Rightly or wrongly, many delegates regard Phillies and Hancock are unacceptable alternatives to Root. That leaves Hinkle and Myers. Hinkle is good. Myers is better.
Myers gets it. Myers gets the antiwar issue -- that it needs to be the LP's flagship issue. And Myers gets the problems with Root -- his flip-flopping and softness on war.
Here is Myer's keen analysis of one of Root's recent (April 2010) statements on foreign policy. (You can read Root's statement in full, and Myers response, at Independent Political Report -- below are what I regard as the wheat without the chaff):
Root wrote: "It's time to admit the war in Iraq has distracted us from the real 'war on terror' we are waging against the Taliban in Afghanistan."
Myers's responds: "Wrong. We need to bring our troops home from Afghanistan now. ... Wayne doesn't want to pull our troops out of the Middle East any time soon. It would be hard to fight [Root's] 'war on terror' if we were not there. ... if we were not there, we would not have a 'war on terror'. We wouldn't be worried about regimes giving terrorists bombs. We would be worried about buying goods from them, and they would in turn be worried about maintaining our friendship in peace.
"This has to be our issue, we need to bring the troops home.
"In order to accept Wayne's theory, you have to believe that either terrorists hate us because we are free, or that they hate us because of our religion. Either case is ridiculous.
"They hate us because we are there taking their resources, installing puppet dictators and trying to sell them democracy through the barrel of a gun. That is the truth. Someone besides Ron Paul needs to say it. That needs to be us.
"Wayne will never say that. Given that his article was written 2 weeks ago, I don't think he is going to change his tune any time soon."
Bravo! Myer's analysis is right on point.
I'll add this: Root was pro-war in 2007, then antiwar in early 2008, then called for an Afghan surge in late 2008, then opposed Obama's Afghan surge in 2009, but in the above piece Root supports Obama's Afghan war policy -- though Root won't credit Obama for continuing a war that Root supports.
Is there a method to Root's mad flip-flopping? Sure. He's reliably pro-war, but weasels back whenever (1) he wants something from the LP, such a president nomination or chair title, or (2) the war has become unpopular even among many conservative talk radio hosts, or (3) Obama supports the war, because Root has a fixated hatred of Obama.
If Myers becomes chair, I expect the LP's national website to reflect a more explicitly antiwar image. Perhaps we'll even see a peace sign on the site? This will attract many young people, the same youth who are energized by Ron Paul.
If Root becomes chair, I expect the LP's national website will be used to promote Root's media career. I expect the site to be plastered with photos of Root, YouTube videos of Root's appearances, and promotions of Root's book.
Think I exaggerate? Earlier this year, Root sent a vaguely threatening email to LP executive direct Wes Benedict, complaining that the national site didn't promote Root extensively enough. Root implied that should he become chair, he'd be looking for a new executive director if Benedict didn't promote Root more heavily.
To quote from Root's threatening email to Benedict:
Here is the list of my media appearances this week…16 in all (although I expect a few more on Friday & Saturday)…including 7 national radio shows…IN ONE WEEK!
I must tell you Wes…If this isn't news worthy…then we need a new Exec Director who can see that it is. If you don't want to put this list up on LP web site…I'd like a straight answer why? And trust me when I tell you, I'm not taking this laying down. This is NEWS that all Libertarians should welcome hearing. We have a bright star in the mainstream media [Root is referring to himself] …who is branding the LP. Trust me…you and I are going to have MULTIPLE conversations about this starting next week.
Those are two of the choices LP delegates will face this weekend. Elect Myers and promote peace. Or elect Root and promote Root's career.
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